Recovering Lost Accounts —Morgan
Don’t ask the sales representative to be the discoverer. Tension between a sales representative and a print buyer remains a common reason for dismissal of a supplier. Conversely, sometimes the closer the relationship between a sales rep and a print buyer, the harder it is for the buyer to criticize that person or the company in general.
If at all possible, it’s best to have an independent, third party approach lost accounts. Print buyers are more likely to be candid with an independent person. If your company can’t afford to hire an independent consultant, then at least have a neutral person—someone who hasn’t been active in servicing the account—make the inquiry.
Lost and Found?
If you have several lost accounts that you are attempting to recover, it may be helpful to put together a formal telephone or online survey. However, it’s best to not offer a financial incentive or gift for survey participation when you are seeking honest feedback. If customers are motivated to participate by the gift, they may not be fully honest about their experiences.
Recovering lost accounts is not as easy as just hearing the customer’s story and then asking for the business back. You need to present a plan. There’s nothing more frustrating to a print buyer than being told, in essence, “We have no idea why that problem happened, but you can be sure it will never happen again.”
If your company was responsible for mistakes in the past, it’s important that you detail in writing both the past problem and all of the steps your establishment intends to take to safeguard them in the future. The more detail you can provide, the greater your ability to win back the account.
Few companies have a process for recovering lost accounts. Fewer bother to measure customer defection. However, recovering lost accounts can have a significant impact on sales and profitability—not to mention a positive impact on your brand. PI